January 6, 2012 in Health, Lifestyle, Nutrition

Going Paleo: Going Back to Basics

Recently, a lot has been written about the paleolithic diet and how our bodies have evolved over hundreds of thousands of years to prefer raw, whole foods. Longtime readers of Living Intentionally will no doubt recognize that I’m a strong proponent of such a diet.

Agriculture as we know it today, has only been with us for a small fraction of our time on this planet. Our bodies have been evolving into homo sapiens sapiens for hundreds of thousands of years, yet our practice of consciously planting and growing our food for consumption has only been a part of our cultures for the last ten thousand years. On an evolutionary scale, agriculture is barely a blip on the radar.

Various nutritional doctrines have taught us that grains are the basis for a healthful diet and life. Unfortunately, this flies in the face of the facts that grains only became a part of our diet once we involved them in our agricultural and cooking practices. Prior to this very late, significant evolutionary event, grains were simply not a part of the equation.

Grains not being a natural part of our evolutionary diet means that grains are not at all necessary for maintaining good health. In fact, significant evidence is mounting that grains are a primary contributor to the rise in Type II Diabetes, which has steadily been on the increase over the last 50 years. As our diets become more carbohydrate-rich, a whole range of new diseases are popping up.

A paleolithic diet is one that features a wide variety of raw vegetables, fruits, seeds, berries, and nuts, as well as an assortment of animal proteins derived from meat and eggs. As I’ve shared on the blog here before, I tend to cook my animal protein. More and more, however, I’m beginning to think that I should just go raw there, too.

Meat, fish and other proteins do not respond well to high heat. The biggest problem is with protein cross-linking. Interestingly enough, cross-linked proteins and caramelized sugars seem to be real taste treats for the human tongue. I confess to loving a grand ol’ barbeque, and I’ve certainly cooked my fair share of fried bananas in caramelized maple syrup served with ice cream on the side (much earlier in life, I spent many years cooking professionally). The problem, alas, is that as good as these things might taste, they do positively nasty things to our bodies. Nasty to the point that we shouldn’t ignore the issues.

Going paleo is, therefore, becoming more and more popular. Those who try a paleo diet almost invariably enjoy improved health, increased energy, and optimal body weight. If you’re interested in trying a raw, paleolithic diet, I strongly encourage you to read up on it. Most important, in my opinion, is to eat organic foods and eat as wide a variety of them as possible. Our modern agricultural practices have dramatically narrowed our view of how limited varieties there are in nature. For example, there are a huge number of apple varieties, yet only a few are sold commercially for eating. The same goes for potatoes, with an incredibly diverse number of varieties in nature, yet the Russet Burbank is pretty much all you’ll ever eat at a restaurant.

Variety and freshly raw are key. If you buy organic meats and fish, you’ll enjoy a raw food experience that is much more flavorful and healthful than conventionally grown. Moreover, organic, pasture-raised, free-range chicken seldom has issues with salmonella, which has become a huge issue for confined-space farming operations.

Au natural. The way <insert deity here> intended. Eat intentionally. Love intentionally. That’s living intentionally.


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